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#1050638 - 08/13/04 07:26 AM First Pop Song from Classical Training
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
Hi everyone,

I had my lesson yesterday and I'm trying my first pop piece. I've only played classical to this point.

I'm playing Billy Joel's "Piano Man" and in it is a chord symbol of "G11". Now, I've had music theory and I understand basics.

A G11 chord is a G-B-D-F-A-C? But, I can't possibly play that many notes. So, I've been playing F-G-A-C. Is this correct?

Also, I have a "G/Fbass" symbol. So, I assume I would add a F below the G? Like this: F-G-B-D. I'm used to seeing the notes after the slash to be one of notes in the chord.

Thanks.
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1050639 - 08/15/04 09:55 PM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
I'm sure more knowledgeable people will pipe in. But I'll give my input for what it's worth.

My first thought is what does your instructor say how it should be played?

But it sounds like you are playing the song from a fake book utilizing just chord symbols and melody notes and not from sheet music. Is that correct?

If so, the voicing of the chord will many times depend on the melody note. Without seeing the music, my first reaction is I would play the G11 with the 1-7 in the left hand and 9-11 in the right hand with the thought that the melody note would be reachable with the remaining fingers. It wouldn't be uncommon if the melody note is actually the 11, so just hitting the 11 chord gets the melody note at the same time. Or maybe 1-3-7 LH, 9-11 RH or 1-7 RH and 9-3-11 LH. Depends on how it sounds and where the melody note is, and also to an extent where the next chord change occurs. I think you should mainly make sure it is not too muddy or complex sounding for a pop tune.

How you read the G/F is how I read it also and would probably put it all in the left hand depending on how low you are on the keyboard and if it didn't sound muddy.

If you are moving from classical sheet music playing to fake book playing, there are a different set of skills and techniques involved, especially with chord voicings and harmonizing.

I hope I haven't presumed too much.

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#1050640 - 08/16/04 06:20 AM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
devils4ever Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/12/04
Posts: 477
Loc: northwest NJ
 Quote:
My first thought is what does your instructor say how it should be played?
Well, I just started this with my teacher and I won't see him until the end of the week. I was hoping to work on this before the next lesson.

 Quote:
But it sounds like you are playing the song from a fake book utilizing just chord symbols and melody notes and not from sheet music. Is that correct?
Actually, no. I have the full sheet music. He wants me to ignore the part written for piano and concentrate on the chord symbols and melody.

 Quote:
If so, the voicing of the chord will many times depend on the melody note. Without seeing the music, my first reaction is I would play the G11 with the 1-7 in the left hand and 9-11 in the right hand with the thought that the melody note would be reachable with the remaining fingers. It wouldn't be uncommon if the melody note is actually the 11, so just hitting the 11 chord gets the melody note at the same time. Or maybe 1-3-7 LH, 9-11 RH or 1-7 RH and 9-3-11 LH. Depends on how it sounds and where the melody note is, and also to an extent where the next chord change occurs. I think you should mainly make sure it is not too muddy or complex sounding for a pop tune.
For this week, he wants me to play with block chords in the left hand and the melody in the right. Then, I'll be working on moving the chords into the right hand.

 Quote:
How you read the G/F is how I read it also and would probably put it all in the left hand depending on how low you are on the keyboard and if it didn't sound muddy.
I can see how muddy sounding the piano can be by not playing the chords in the right octave. This is all new to me, I'm used to playing the music exactly as written. But, I do want to play other genres of music. This is my first step.

 Quote:
If you are moving from classical sheet music playing to fake book playing, there are a different set of skills and techniques involved, especially with chord voicings and harmonizing.
No doubt. I'm learning that now.

 Quote:
I hope I haven't presumed too much.
No way. Thanks for your help.
_________________________
"Applaud friends, the comedy is over." --Ludwig van Beethoven on his deathbed.
August Förster 190 Artcase

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#1050641 - 08/16/04 01:45 PM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
Devils,

I can relate to what you are going through. My teacher has a group of about 15 songs that he uses to teach playing from a fake book. First we did them all using left hand block chords. Now I am voicing them by filling in the chords between both hands and not just in the left. This is very challenging. I am on the first song doing this voicing. I am into the second week on this very easy song. Using block chords I had it in about 2 hours, so you can see how the voicing is much more difficult. I am starting to get a feel for how it all works, I know once I get it playing in this style will be a lot of fun. The songs sound so much better than with the block chords. Also, after this step he says that there a lot of other little tricks to learn. I think the key is to be as patient as possible and practice...practice...practice.

Devils.... good luck with the process.
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

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#1050642 - 08/18/04 10:42 AM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
Bob331 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/11/04
Posts: 135
Loc: NY
Hello Frank R:

I'd be interested (and maybe others would, too) in learning more about your teacher's approach; which songs, how you're playing them, voicing, etc.

My orientation is pop/jazz piano and I like to work on things on my own (in addition to what I get from my teacher).

Bob

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#1050643 - 08/18/04 01:11 PM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
Bob331,

I have a set of rules that I will post later this evening or tomorrow morning. If you follow the rules it works well. However, as I understand it these rules are only a base or start to learning this process. Like I said it takes quite a bit at first because it is so different from what I (or any beginning player)is used to with easy block chords or scored music. If you would like I can fax the music to you. I haven't had much luck with scanning and being able to e-mail this stuff. Send me a PM if you would like me to do this. Also, I will give you updates on the next steps as I get them.
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

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#1050644 - 08/19/04 03:38 PM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
BOB331,

OK, here are the rules:

When voicing lead sheets it is not necessary, or even desirable to harmonize every melody note. You should harmonize melody notes when:

the note falls on the first beat of a measure and each time a new chord is introduced.
Use your ear to determine when adding chords in other places is desirable.

The procedure for voice a tune is as follows;

1) Play the melody note with the 5th finger of the right hand. Sometimes the 3rd or 4th finger may be used to facilitate playing a more active melody;

2) Play the root of the chord in the bass with the left hand:

3) Fill in the remaining notes of the chord in between the melody and root notes. The right hand will generally play three notes. The left hand will generally play two notes in one of the following combinations:

Two root note one octave apart.

The root and the 7th.

The root and the 5th.

Be sure to include the 5th, 3rd and 7th (if the chord has one). The 5th may be omitted unless it is integral to the chord (e.g. C+, Cm7flat5).

At this point, go back to the earlier tunes in this book and voice them using the above information as your guide.


As I stated in my previous post I have the tunes if you would like me to fax them to you. Also, this is just the first step, let me know if you would like updates.
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

Top
#1050645 - 08/21/04 07:09 AM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
Hububer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/29/03
Posts: 149
Loc: Virginia
Memorization and practice are the keys to learning chords, but there are tricks that can be used to help the process.

One is to learn this pattern (its just based on the circle of fifths).

Cm7 F9 Bbm7 Eb9 Abm7 Db9 F#m7 B9 Em7 A9 Dm7 G9 Fm7 Bb9 Ebm7 Ab9 C#m7 F#9 Bm7 E9 Am7 D9 Gm7 C9

Voice the m7 chords as LH 1-7 (fingers 5-1), RH 3-5 (f1-2). Voice the 9 chords as LH 1-3 (f3-1), RH 7-9 (f1-2).

You may have to put this to notation to actually see what is going on, but notice when moving from the m7 to the 9 chord the right hand does not have to move. It plays the same notes with the same fingers. Talk about economy of motion. To learn the above pattern though, you will probably have to put it to notation. I think the above pattern is important because it can be learned fairly quickly, (which gives you 24 open chord voicing no small feat), and it gives a great economy of hand motion. This was the second pattern my instructor had me learned, but so far, I think it is the best.

Now, if you look through fake books, you will quickly notice the number of m7 to 7 chord changes. It varies, but on average you see that chord change from a single measure to as many as a third of the chord changes in the song. To make use of this pattern, play all of the 7 chords as 9 chords when you see a m7 to 7 chord change that fits the above pattern. Even though classically trained players may grouse at that thought. You cant play the 9 chord, because it says 7 chord in the music. Dont worry. Its ok to do so. In my opinion, since typically most open voicings only have four notes of the chord, the 9 chord sounds better than the 7 chord most of the time anyway, and for that reason, I almost always play straight 7 chords as 9 chords.

It may help to start embracing this is a different style of playing than classical. Fake books (chords and melody, lead sheets, whatever) represent the skeleton of the song. You decide what sounds best at the moment. Eventually you will be improvising and putting your on sound to the music which is the greatest fun.

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#1050646 - 08/21/04 01:41 PM Re: First Pop Song from Classical Training
Frank R Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/16/03
Posts: 569
Loc: Anaheim Hills, CA
Hububer,

I e-mailed your above post to my teacher and he said that I'm not ready for that quite yet.
However, it is on the third page of the next booklet and I will be working on it soon. Looks like fun.

Thanks for the info.
_________________________
Keep a song in your heart!

Frank
--------------------------
It's not who we are that holds us back, it's who we think we're not!

Top

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